Natural Treatment Options for Crohn’s and Colitis
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are autoimmune diseases affecting the digestive system. They inflame the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can make it difficult for the body to effectively digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste.
These are lifelong diseases with no known cure. Patients typically go through phases when the disease is active (known as a flare) and other times when it is dormant (in remission). Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract but usually appears in the small bowel and upper colon. Colitis is more localized, inflaming the large colon. Crohn’s and Colitis can be completely debilitating and painful when patients are in a flare. Both conditions share many of the same symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Severe diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding and blood in stool
- Weight loss
- Diminished appetite
Causes for Crohn’s and Colitis
Causes of Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s and Colitis are complex, and not yet fully understood. The conditions typically affect men and women equally and have a higher prevalence in urban areas of developed countries. The onset of symptoms most often occurs before 30 years of age, and it is thought that Crohn’s and Colitis are caused by a combination of genetic tendencies and environmental triggers. The health of the gut microbiome may also play a role in the development of the diseases.
Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are serious conditions that typically require medical interventions like anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, steroid treatments, and even surgery. However, there are many natural treatments and lifestyle changes that patients can adopt to help them manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Meditation and Breathwork
There is some evidence demonstrating that mindfulness techniques, including meditation and breathwork, can help individuals suffering from Crohn’s and Colitis in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression associated with their condition. Mindfulness practices can help patients respond to symptoms with awareness, and better manage their emotional responses to the very real difficulties of IBD.
There is also research exploring the ability of mindfulness techniques to decrease the physical inflammatory activities of Crohn’s and Colitis, but there is so far little evidence to share that mindfulness can actually prevent flares.
Diet and Nutrition
Many studies have suggested that diet and nutrition play as a preventative measure for patients in remission and can help manage symptoms during a flare. The western diet, high in saturated fat and refined sugars, and low in dietary fiber, has a negative effect on the gut microbiome.
During a flare, patients should emphasize healthy, easily digestible foods. Including low fiber fruit (bananas, melon), lean protein, refined grains, and seedless, skinless, cooked vegetables.
Patients in remission should try to add in more high-quality fiber from a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir, may not be tolerated well during flares, but they are an excellent way to improve your gut health to help stay in remission.
There has been a growing interest in the ability of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to provide relief from symptoms of Crohn’s and Colitis. There is some research suggesting that CBD may provide pain relief and reduce inflammation associated with IBD. Ulcerative colitis patients have reported greater improvements in quality of life when taking CBD, compared to a control group taking a placebo.
There is no evidence to suggest that CBD on its own can replace traditional medications used to treat Crohn’s and Colitis, but many patients find it beneficial as part of their holistic treatment plan. CBD is now legal nationwide. You can shop for extracts, capsules, and pre-roll online through the Heally Marketplace, and get them shipped right to your door.
Get in touch with Heally
Are you looking to build a natural treatment plan to treat your Crohn’s or Colitis? Reach out to us at Heally to take the first step towards holistically treating your condition.